The voluntary code of practice sets standards for pubcos regarding interaction with tied tenants throughout the relationship with the company.
Sections of the code describe industry requirements for:
- Letting of premises
- Rent reviews
- Agreement renewal
- Interaction with landlord
- Operation of AWPs
- Use of flow monitoring equipment
- Complaints procedure
- Surrender of tenancy
So far Admiral Tavern, Belhaven/Greene King, Hawthorn Leisure, Punch, Star Pubs & Bars/HEINEKEN and Trust Inns have signed up.
The code features sections on tied tenancies, tied leases, temporary agreements, and free-of-tie tenancy/lease agreements.
It will come into effect at the same time as the English & Welsh statutory code, which has been delayed. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has told The Morning Advertiser it is on track to be published this month.
British Beer and Pub Association chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “This Code is a landmark for Scottish tied pubs, setting out protections for tenants, and is the first designed specifically for Scotland.
“The pub sector in Scotland is hugely different to the rest of the UK. What works for pubs in England and Wales doesn’t necessarily suit the industry in Scotland.
“This code takes into account the unique nature of the Scottish tied pub trade, providing the best balance of what works for pubs in Scotland, whilst also protecting much needed investment in both the pub sector and local economies across the country.
“The Code also allows Scottish tenants access to independent, low-cost resolution procedures for rent, through PIRRS, and for other issues through PICA-Service, both of which have Scottish-specific expert representation.
“The tied pub sector, whilst only making up a small percentage of Scottish pubs, is a fantastic opportunity for self-employed entrepreneurs to get a low cost means of entry into business ownership. The industry also serves as a major employer of the nation’s young people, offering lifelong career opportunities in a vibrant sector that is vital to Scotland’s larger economy.
“At a time of immense pressure on small businesses, this new Code, alongside continued support from the Scottish Government through schemes such as the Small Business Bonus Scheme and measures to alleviate the unfair tax burden on pubs, can continue to promote investment in the industry and local economies across the country.
“The announcement of this Code is a further sign of the industry’s determination to work alongside a range of stakeholders through self-regulation, in order to continue to promote a healthy pub sector that is vital to Scotland. The Code ensures this will be done in a responsible, joined-up way, supported by significant capital investment across the country.”